Investiv Daily

  • 25 Dec
    The S&P 500 is on the cusp of a bear market – is it really this bad?

    The S&P 500 is on the cusp of a bear market – is it really this bad?

    If we wanted to try to find some kind of holiday-appropriate description for the stock market this Christmas season, I suppose it would make sense to compare it to the infamous Grinch from from Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas. It certainly seems that as we moved from Thanksgiving into December, much of the prevailing tone and sentiment in the market turned increasingly sour. Even yesterday, on a holiday-shortened trading session traders seemed to chose to emphasize the negative, focusing on the prospect of a long government shutdown and the job security of Fed chair Jerome Powell. More →

  • 24 Dec
    This market is making stocks like BWA look like bigger bargains every day

    This market is making stocks like BWA look like bigger bargains every day

    The market has been moving closer and closer into bear market territory, and if you’re a conservative investor, that is something that should make you more and more aware of the increasing risk of taking on new positions. If we are, in fact looking at the beginning of a new bear market, history suggests the worst is still ahead; the two previous bear markets in this century both saw the stock market decline by more than 50% before finding a bottom. More →

  • 21 Dec
    This is what the beginning of a bear market looks like

    This is what the beginning of a bear market looks like

    In the last week, bearish momentum has really started to pick up. This entire year has been punctuated by volatility driven by uncertainty, but it’s really only since late November that the overall market tone has actually started to turn negative. That fact has finally come to bear this week, forcing the S&P 500 below an important support level near its yearly lows around 2,600. Until this week, the market had managed to hold up pretty well in correction territory, using that support to bounce and move higher on multiple occasions – until now. More →

  • 20 Dec
    Does an oil bear market spell doom for stocks like MRO?

    Does an oil bear market spell doom for stocks like MRO?

    One of the stores that seems to have really gotten lost in the jumble and noise of the stock market sell off coming in to the end of the year is the way oil prices have tanked at the same time. Questions about a global economic slowdown have played a big role in that decline, but the overall skittishness in the stock market certainly isn’t helping matters. Since the beginning of October, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude is down almost 39%, while Brent crude is down about 33% over the same period. That decline significantly outpaces the stock market’s decline, and yet all of the market noise is about whether the stock market is finally going to turn bearish, what the Fed is going to do with interest rates, and what will happen in China. More →

  • 19 Dec
    A semiconductor bear market is a good long-term opportunity for stocks like SWKS

    A semiconductor bear market is a good long-term opportunity for stocks like SWKS

    The market has not been kind to the semiconductor over the past several months; since the beginning of September, the sector has led the broad market to the downside, with its overall decline since then at nearly 17%. That covers almost all of the sector’s almost 20% drop since March of this year, and clearly puts the sector ahead of the rest of the market, even as it pushes deeper into correction territory. More →

  • 18 Dec
    Looking for a smart play in the market right now? Check out TAP

    Looking for a smart play in the market right now? Check out TAP

    As the stock market moves deeper into correction territory and challenges the lowest support levels it reached earlier this year, a natural question becomes what a smart investor should do with your money. Do you take everything out of the market and sit on the sidelines until things start to settle down again? The ultra-conservative approach would be to do exactly that. More →

  • 17 Dec
    Is WHR a good buy right now?

    Is WHR a good buy right now?

    With the stock market pushing down to test levels near its lowest points from earlier this year, a lot of investors are on edge right now. The market is back into correction territory, and has pushed below its more recent low point around the end of October. A continued decline will not only steepen the severity of the correction, but also increase speculation, uncertainty and risk that the market will finally, after a practically uninterrupted bullish run of more than nine years, move into legitimate bear market territory. More →

  • 14 Dec
    Why the S&P 500 could be past the “last gasp” stage of a long bull market

    Why the S&P 500 could be past the “last gasp” stage of a long bull market

    2018 has marked a very interesting year for the stock market. After a year of practically uninterrupted increases in stock prices in 2017, where every small dip in price provided a new opportunity to jump back in and made the market look like easy money, 2018 has been anything but predictable. Geopolitical concerns like Brexit, trade tensions between the U.S. and its largest trading partners, and speculation about the sustainability of historically low interest rates and global economic health have all had their day in court. More →

  • 13 Dec
    Is LOW cheap enough yet?

    Is LOW cheap enough yet?

    Over the course of this last quarter of the calendar year, one of the areas of the market that has come under the most pressure is the Consumer Discretionary sector. From April until September, this sector was one of the market leaders, as a generally healthy economy drove retail stocks across a range of industries like Kohl’s (KSS), Target Stores (TGT), Home Depot (HD), and Lowe’s Companies, Inc. (LOW) to all-time high levels; but as anxiety about global tariffs combined with questions about whether the economy was finally starting to reach a peak, this sector dropped well into correction territory and is down a little over 12% since the beginning of September.

    Home improvement stocks like HD and LOW seem to be an interesting economic barometer, especially as it relates to consumer-level impact. A healthy economy generally means increasing home ownership, both for new homes as well as existing, older homes. That is usually a good thing for this industry, since homeowners naturally have to spend money to maintain their homes. Another element that plays a role, of course is interest rates.  Low rates not only motivate higher borrowing for mortgages, but also spur increased home improvement sales as consumers spend and borrow money to upgrade and improve existing homes.

    The fact rates have been increasing isn’t a positive for this industry, and in fact is one of the things that I believe have played a role in pushing HD and LOW into bear market territory over the last three months; but recent economic data seems to be giving the market reason to believe that the Fed may slow the pace of interest rate increases. On a historical basis, rates remain relative modest, which means a slower pace, or even a pause in rates could give this industry a boost in 2019. LOW is an interesting company, in the midst of a corporate transformation, with a new management team that is mapping out a new strategy that includes selling non-core businesses, lowering costs and improved store execution. They are down more than 20% over the quarter, which means that the stock is underperforming versus the broader sector and is in bear market territory. There are some interesting fundamental qualities that I think make LOW worth watching; but I’m not sure the long-term outlook for the stock is quite as positive as I would like to see.



    Fundamental and Value Profile

    Lowe’s Companies, Inc. (Lowe’s) is a home improvement company. The Company operates approximately 2,370 home improvement and hardware stores. The Company offers a range of products for maintenance, repair, remodeling and decorating. The Company offers home improvement products in categories, including Lumber and Building Materials; Tools and Hardware; Appliances; Fashion Fixtures; Rough Plumbing and Electrical; Lawn and Garden; Seasonal and Outdoor Living; Paint; Flooring; Millwork, and Kitchens. The Company also supports the communities that focus on K-12 public education and community improvement projects. The Company serves its customers in the United States, Canada and Mexico. LOW’s current market cap is $75.3 billion.

    • Earnings and Sales Growth: Over the last twelve months, earnings declined about -1%, while sales grew almost 4%. The last quarter didn’t improve the earnings picture, since earnings declined almost -50%, while sales dropped close to -17%. The company operates with a very narrow margin profile that seems to be getting even narrower; Net Income versus Revenues over both the past year was 5.18%, but decline in the most recent quarter at about 3.6%.
    • Free Cash Flow: LOW’s free cash flow is one of most impressive aspects of their fundamental profile, at $5.3 billion. That translates to a Free Cash Flow Yield of 7.2%. Another positive is the fact Free Cash Flow has increased significantly since the beginning of the year, when it was about $4 billion.
    • Debt to Equity: LOW has a debt/equity ratio of 2.68 and makes them one of the most highly leveraged companies in their industry. While their balance sheet indicates operating profits are sufficient to service their debt, liquidity is a question mark; cash is a little over $1.8 billion while long-term debt is almost $14.5 billion.
    • Dividend: LOW pays an annual dividend of $1.92 per share, which translates to a yield of about 2.1%.
    • Price/Book Ratio: there are a lot of ways to measure how much a stock should be worth; but one of the simplest methods that I like uses the stock’s Book Value, which for LOW is only $6.72, and which translates to a Price/Book ratio of 13.76 at the stock’s current price. Their historical average Price/Book ratio is 10.36, which means that even with the stock down 20% since September, it remains almost 25% overvalued right now. The fact is that based on Price/Book ratio, the stock can’t really be considered a good value until it drops to about $55. The last time the stock was in that price range was October of 2014.



    Technical Profile

    Here’s a look at the stock’s latest technical chart.

     

    • Current Price Action/Trends and Pivots: LOW isn’t far from the 52-week lows it established earlier this year in the $81 to $83 price range. The momentum of the stock’s downward trend right now means that the stock would have to break above resistance at $95 to mark any kind of consolidation range right now, with a break above $100 a good technical reference for an actual bullish trend reversal. If the stock breaks below its current pivot support around $86, look for strong consolidation in the $81 to $83 range. A drop below that level would mean the downward trend will likely continue for the foreseeable future, with the next most likely support level around $75. 
    • Near-term Keys: A push above $95 could set up an interesting bullish swing trade using call options, with a near-term target price at around $100. If the stock breaks its current support, you might consider shorting the stock or buying put options with an eye on the stock’s 52-week low around $81 as an exit point for that trade. The fact is that the stock’s value proposition right now just isn’t interesting enough to justify any kind of long-term position on this company. They are interesting potential turnaround story, it is true; but I would prefer to wait to see new management’s strategy paying off in the form of improving general fundamental strength, lower debt levels, and improving Book Value.


  • 12 Dec
    ADM is an interesting defensive play – is it a good value?

    ADM is an interesting defensive play – is it a good value?

    Bearish pressures for the past few days have pushed the market back down near to its 52-week lows. It seems like each time the market tests its major support, more and more talk starts to be about the increasing likelihood that the longest bull market in recorded history is finally going to end. So far this year, each time that’s happened the market has managed to stage yet another rally; but given the extremely extended state the market remains in, even being in corrective territory right now does seem to suggest that support will probably only hold for long. More →

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